Gearbox Files Lawsuit Against 3D Realms for Alleged Unauthorized Use of Duke Nukem IP

February 24, 2014

Publisher of Duke Nukem Forever Gearbox Software have this week filed a lawsuit against 3D Realms over an alleged misuse of the Duke Nukem IP involving copyright and trademark infringement.

The lawsuit revolves around Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, an upcoming game by 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment. Gearbox’s lawsuit states that this new Duke Nukem title will “make unlawful use of Gearbox’s IP,” and create unfair competition.

Recently — and without consulting the Duke IP’s actual owner, Gearbox — Interceptor announced its intent to develop a Duke Nukem game based upon the various characters, content and intellectual property owned by Gearbox.

The lawsuit also alleges that 3D Realms are lying about the ownership of the Duke Nukem IP in order to produce another game.

Apparently, after selling its Duke Nukem IP rights to Gearbox in 2010, 3DR sought to privately convince others that the sale never happened. The result is the unauthorized development effort that reportedly exists between 3DR and Interceptor.

Gearbox notes that on February 13, it sent a cease and desist letter to 3D Realms regarding the usage of the Duke Nukem IP in Mass Destruction. Furthermore, the CEO of 3D Realms is alleged to have signed a breach notice on February 16, agreeing to cease usage of the Duke Nukem IP.


Despite this, Gearbox notes that Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction is still slated for release on February 25, a decision that the company finds “baffling” in light of the breach notice.

Gearbox intend to pursue the matter legally, but note that the end result is all but final, with a court hearing being merely a “formality.”

3D Realms were the owners of the Duke Nukem IP until 2010, when, lacking either the ability to continue development on Duke Nukem Forever or to avoid litigation from publisher Take Two. Gearbox agreed to “bail out” 3D Realms, gaining control of the Duke Nukem IP.

3D Realms still have ownership of all older Duke Nukem games.

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